Delta Air Lines Continues Adding Seat Capacity


Jun. 6 2019, Updated 7:31 a.m. ET

Capacity additions

Delta Air Lines (DAL) increased its total passenger capacity by 5.3% YoY in May. From January to May, the company increased its capacity by 5.1%. Last year, Delta increased capacity by 3.6% YoY, which was significantly higher than the 1% capacity it added in 2017.

Delta has been enhancing capacity in the US as well as international markets. In May, the company increased its capacity by 5.5% in local markets. In the first five months of 2019, Delta raised its domestic capacity by 5.7%.

Delta increased seating capacity by 4.9% YoY across its international operations in May. The company’s passenger capacity in the Atlantic and Pacific regions grew 4.7% and 11%, respectively. Nonetheless, capacity in the Latin America region declined by 1%.

From January to May, the company’s international capacity grew by 3.9%. Delta’s capacity in the Atlantic and Pacific regions increased 5.4% and 6%, respectively. However, across the Latin America region, Delta reduced capacity by 0.3%.

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Load factor

Consolidated load factor improved 130 basis points to 87.6% in May 2019. Load factor in the domestic market grew 230 basis points to 89%, while in the international market it contracted ten basis points to 85.4%.

From January to May, the consolidated load factor expanded 30 basis points to 84.4%. During the period, the domestic market load factor increased 80 basis points to 85%, while in the international market, it fell 50 basis points to 83.5%.

Among major US airlines, Hawaiian Holdings (HA), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), and Alaska Air Group (ALK) haven’t reported their May numbers yet. In April, JetBlue Airways registered a 60 basis point improvement in load factor while Hawaiian Holdings recorded an expansion of 20 basis points. On the other hand, Alaska Air Group recorded a 40 basis-point expansion in the load factor.

Investors can invest in the US Global Jets ETF (JETS) to get exposure to US airline stocks. The ETF invests in passenger and cargo airlines, aircraft manufacturers, airports, and terminal services companies. JETS has returned 5.7% in the year so far.


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